Avoid the shame and secrecy of crossdressing

Today I was listening to a TED talk on shame by Brene Brown. She said, “If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence and judgement. If you put the same shame in a petri dish and douse it with empathy, it can’t survive. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.”

I got shivers up my spine as I thought about my transgender experience. Shame has been a constant companion through my journey, it has haunted me even as I asked the question of my readers,  “Are you ashamed of being a crossdresser” and even when I stand on the mountaintop victorious over shame I’m aware that it still bides it’s time, hoping for an insurrection of my spirit.

Secrecy

Those in the transgender community know secrecy well. It has been our bed fellow since before we knew what it meant. Growing up in secrecy we hid our feelings. As we blossomed into adulthood we desperately fought to keep our deepest darkest from others. Like a cancer from within, secrecy ate our souls.

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Silence

Like twin demons dancing down the path to despair, silence and secrecy skip hand in hand. Our desire for secrecy kept us silent, and the silence of the community kept others silent. A lot has changed in the last 10 years. The voices of those who can no longer embrace secrecy has sent a cry of hope out into the silence. This was the reason I started Crossdresser Heaven. At first it was my cry for help – to myself, to understand what I was going through. Then it became my cry of hope – small though it may be, I added my voice to the chorus of those offering advice, encouragement and solace. I told my transgender story. I shared your transgender stories.

Judgement

Yet judgement wandered among us still – the judgement of our hearts, the judgement of those with little understanding or care. They condemned us as sinners, as heathens and accused us of all manner of debauchery. They stripped down our identity to a single word, erasing all our good deeds and contributions to hang the sign, “Transgender” around our necks. For many the shame was so strong that we bowed our heads and wore this brand as if it were tattooed on our hearts.

Empathy

It does not need to be this way. We do not need to hide in secret, weep in silence or cower at the judgement foisted upon us. Dear readers, lovely ladies and beautiful kindred spirits, I understand your walk. I know your shame, I feel your struggle, and I hold your hand as you get back up one more time. We are here together. Alone they can isolate us, ridicule us. Together we are strong. Together we can change laws and melt hearts. Together we can find comfort and share warmth.

Together we can pour the salve of empathy on shame. Dousing it so thoroughly that no secrecy, or silence, or judgement can ever infect the beauty of who we are created to be. For all those who have not heard it yet, today I say to you, “me too.

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100 Comments
  1. Stephanny 2 years ago

    First I want to say that every Transgender person needs to understand that there’s always one who understands you or us like no one else. That’s our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Once after the last attempt on my life I realized that every step in my life He has always been there guiding me, shaping me or better making me into a fighter against the evil ones who like judging us in everything we do. To put it simply the only one we have to answer too is Him. Nothing anyone can say or do to us to try and bring us misery and unhappiness matters. Because if your faith is strong we can move mountains and conquer the evil that plagues us in everyday life.
    ever since He showed me that He’s always there for me I haven’t looked back and now I’m living my life as a lady who seems be causing men lots of problems. All I have to say is F.O.A.D. AH. Usually the look at me strange because they don’t realize I’ve just insulted them and finish by saying have a great day and God Bless you AH.

  2. Jessica Summer 9 months ago

    Hi Vanessa,

    I want to thank you so much for creating CDH. Additionally, I want to thank you for this article on shame. This truly speaks to my heart.
    As I have opened up to my wife and see her struggle it hurts so much. I tell her I’m sorry for doing this to her but I feel so much better about myself being a woman. I’m so thankful for her as she is trying so much to accept me and help. She is going to try and treat me as a woman now.
    Still I know I have more battles to face from those who put shame on us. I stuggle to find the strength to enter the battle with my parents since I know it will hurt them.
    When I think of these battles, I begin to feel bad about being who I am. At this point, I find solace in knowing how good I feel being a woman and continue on my path.

    Jessica

  3. T.J. Byron 8 months ago

    Vanessa,
    More truth in words of your piece have not been spoken or written. It was beautifully composed and thoughtful. You have given a voice to those who before CDH EXISTED.
    Thanks for all your efforts on the WORLD of CDERS out there. We all appreciate you!
    T.J.

  4. Misha CeeDee 8 months ago

    What a wonderful message. So generous and powerful and yes, empathetic. Thank you. I needed to read this. We all did. Xo

  5. Donna O Lacey 6 months ago

    Really enjoyed your article. Thanks for sharing your experiences and setting up this wonderful site. We seem to share many similar experiences and anxieties and yet like all individuals we have our differences, our personal experiences traits preferences yet we are bound and acquainted through our shared experiences and struggles.
    I’m Donna, grew up in Ireland in the middle of the troubles, very insecure and precious situation, staunch Catholic family 2 sisters 5 brothers. No question of understanding tolerance acceptance of anything out of the ordinary.
    It began early, I used to love watching my mother apply make-up and loved the scent of her perfume. My first conscious or contrived act of crossdressing was around 7 years old trying on my sisters white mary Jane communion shoes in secrecy. This i found very exhilarating yet dangerous and shameful afterwards. There followed a lame unintended yet always present desire and attention for the female and feminine. My next experience was a tan coloured strappy wedge sandal of my sister. I eventually had to try them on. Ooh yeah. What an amazing feeling. This led to a denim skirt and blue blouse. Then hose. Panties and bra, then make-up all depending on the opportunity which were so rare in such a big family.
    Moved to Holland and have the honour of being father to 2 adult sons who chose to stay with me after my divorce. Many many barren and lonely years followed, thank goodness for the company of my wonderful sons. Now one has left the nest and the other is close enough by. I intend to sell my house in the city and buy a far more comfortable and appreciate one in the country. There I intend to spend the majority of my time en femme but I have never even considered transition, I love many of my male traits and hobbies also.
    This is the first time ever I have been so open and honest with myself and publicly. Thank you so much dear for providing us with this platform. Xxx Donna XXXD

  6. Kelli Gorgeous 2 months ago

    Honey, you should author a book! The way you write and the wording you choose is exceptional and very inspiring. Thank you for your encouragement girl! 🙂

  7. Alysson Manson 6 days ago

    I FEEL NO SHAME FOR BEING ME ,PUBLIC HAS A PROBLEM ,WHY SHOULD I CHANGE TO MAKE SOME IDOIT HAPPY ,YOU DONT PAY MY BILLS ,I WONT SLEEP WITH YOU ,SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM ,MY EXPERIANCE AS A STRAIGHT MAN IN DRAG HAS BEEN EYE OPENING AND HAS CHANGED ME INTO A BETTER PERSON ,I WOULD NOT TRADE WHAT I HAVE BEEN THRU FOR NOTHING ,THE WORLD IS UGLY AND NOT ALLWAYS READY FOR US BUT WE DO GIRLFRIENDS HAVE A PLACE IN THIS WORLD AND WE SHOULD BE PROUD OF THE FACT WE ARE FREE FROM RESTRAINT TO BE THE PRETTY ONES THAT WE ARE AND THATS NO SHAME

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